Saturday, 23 March 2013

Billabong - Tiny Rebel (4.6%)

I first sampled this last month at the excellent Derby Winter Ale Festival which was held at the beautiful Roundhouse and liked it. It was one of the better beers on a day of good beers. However, as my notes and recollection are somewhat `hazy`, it might have been  Tiny Rebel`s Full Nelson that I tried.

However, I revisited Billabong yesterday at Shakespeares  in Sheffield. I`d heard that it was about to appear at the pub and an unexpected `snow day` afforded me the chance to grab an afternoon hour or two in the Kelham Island area. Billabong was probably the pick of the 5 ales I sampled with nothing really hitting the spot in The Harlequin or the esteemed Kelham Island Tavern. (Arbor`s Hoptical Illusion (also from the Shakie cellar) was very competitive though).

Thankfully, manager Chris retrieved a pint of Billabong for me straight from the cask and I was not disappointed. The `summery` aroma was a bit of a contrast to the freezing weather outside but then it is a South Wales showcase for Australian hops. Brewed in Newport, Gwent, Tiny Rebel aim to `defy your senses` and this 4.6% brew certainly does pack a punch. Very hoppy and lighter than the lovely Cwtch, it is well quaffable, whether you`re in a snowbound Steel City or having a bbq in scorching Summer Bay. Tiny Rebel are HOT!

Danny - I've tried several Tiny Rebel beers now and have been impressed with them all. Definitely a brewery I will be looking out for from now on.

Mike`s Score - 8.5
Danny`s Score -8.0

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Shakespeares 5th Beer Festival

We called into Shakespeares after work on Friday to sample some of the delights of their 5th Real Ale & Cider Festival. There were 10 local beers on the downstairs bar, another 20 beers in the upstairs fesitval bar, and several more down in the cellar. The staff did an amazing job of running up and downstairs and were always on hand to offer recommendations of which beers to try and answer any questions and there was a nice buzz about the place. This pub certainly holds it's own against some of its more well-known neighbours and we like! Even the 60p sandwiches are a winner. We sampled 8 of the beers on offer which are listed below.

Longman - Old Man 4.3%  Danny - 6 Mike - 6
Leadmill - Slumdog 5.9% Danny - 7 Mike - 7
Pennine - Ruby Mine 4.4% Danny - 7.5 Mike - 6
Tiny Rebel - Cwtch 4.6% Danny - 8 Mike - 9
Tiny Rebel - Urban IPA 5.5% Danny 8 Mike - n/a
Truefit - Zoffany IPA 5.0% Danny 7.5 Mike - 7
Raw/Steel City - Cuban Conformity 6.0% Danny 8 Mike - 9
Summer Wine - Mokko 6.0% Danny 6.5 Mike - 6

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Twin Peaks - Sierra Nevada & Thornbridge Collaboration. ABV 5.0%

Twin Peaks - A Sierra Nevada/ Thornbridge Collaboration 5.0% ABV
Sierra Nevada is one my favourite American Craft Breweries so this was a beer I've been looking forward to trying since first hearing about it in The Cross Scythes. Luckily Tom wasted no time at all in getting it on the bar. It's brewed using Sierra Nevada's hops and British malts with Thorbridge's Wild Swan in mind. A light golden colour with a clean crisp bitter finish finish and notes of grapefruit and citrus, not unlike Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale. I really enjoyed it and the only negative thing I can say about is the whopping price tag of £4.60 a pint! I've been told that Thornbridge are making less per pint on this than they usually do and it's due to the cost of importing the American ingredients.
Danny's Score 8.5 Mike's Score 8

Friday, 1 March 2013

Cwtch by Tiny Rebel

This was my choice from many sampled at the Derby Winter Beer Festival held at the Roundhouse last weekend. I understand that this is a new brewery operating in South Wales and I`d had a tip-off that they were worth a try. All three of their festival offerings that I tried were good but this one was a bit special. It was red in colour and 4.6% but you couldn`t help but be surprised by the initial flowery hit on the the palate with a more complex aftertaste. Very tasty and reminded us of Magic Rock`s Rapture in some ways but not in others. Quite spicy, just the job for a Winter Beer in my opinion, yet still pretty hoppy. I think `Cwtch` means `cuddle` or something similar in Welsh and it certainly left me feeling warm inside!
Mike`s Score - 9 Danny`s Score - 8